If you’re exploring the Coromandel Peninsula, you’ll soon come to Whitianga – the main town in Mercury Bay. When native forests were being harvested on the peninsula in the 1800s and early 1900s, Whitianga was a timber port. Ships from Europe came to load up with kauri. Today, Whitianga depends on fishing, farming and tourism for its prosperity. Accommodation is plentiful for much of the year, but the town gets busy over the summer holiday period. You’ll find a great choice of places to eat and drink. Dolphins live in the bay and sometimes frolic around the wharf. A passenger ferry provides a link with the Cooks Beach side of the harbour. Functional facts: Approx. population 3770, i-SITE Visitor Centre, good range of shops and services.